Build your ASP.NET MVC app with Grunt

Grunt (and Gulp) is a marvellous tool to automate your development and build pipeline but until few months ago it was directly tied to the node environment. But since Microsoft is becaming more open source, some developers started to develope Grunt tasks to support the .NET pipeline. So I tried to combine a set of developer tasks to automate an ASP.NET MVC/WebApi project….and it works! I was able to watch the project folder and to start a set of tasks on every change to a file so that I can rebuild the app, publish it in a folder and refresh the browser to see what’s changed.

The project structure is:

|-- MyProject.sln
|-- package.json
|-- Gruntfile.js
|-- /MyProject
       |-- /App_Start
       |-- /assets
       |-- /Controllers
       |-- /Properties
       |-- /Views
       |-- MyProject.csproj

Task by task I created the Gruntfile. Here is the list of task that I used:

  • grunt-msbuild is used to compile the project. I added a watcher that monitor all the csharp files and everytime one of these change it runs the msbuild task.
  • grunt-iisexpress is used to run the IISExpress local server on the web folder so that we can see the result of our changes
  • grunt-contrib-compass is for compiling the SCSS/SASS files into CSS
  • grunt-contrib-jshint simply analyze the javascript files
  • grunt-contrib-uglify is used to minify the javascript files

The full Gruntfile.js is available as a gist feel free to use it and modify on your needs.

Consider that this works without Visual Studio so if you prefer you can use a lighweight editor like SublimeText (with Omnisharp)